Toronto: The Bata Shoe Museum here has announced a reward of $25,000 for the safe return of a pair of slippers worn by the Nizam of Hyderabad in the 1790s and two other artefacts stolen from its premises last Sunday.

The regal slippers, valued at $140,000, were embroidered with gold and encrusted with diamonds and rubies. An 18th century gold toe ring, set with precious stones, worth $11,000 and a jewel-encrusted anklet, with an estimated value of $45,000 were also stolen.

"The items are of very important value for the museum. Their loss is a great damage also to the community... ," Museum Director Emanuele Lepri said.

According to City Police Detective Leslie Dunkley, there is a "very small market" for the stolen items. This suggests that the thieves knew exactly what they were after.

"We are looking into all aspects of the investigation. We believe this was a planned theft and deliberate," Dunkley said.

The Nizam's slippers had been on display at the museum since June 2005. Sonja Bata, wife of Czech shoe magnate Thomas Bata, who founded the museum, described the slippers as "irreplaceable." - PTI